MISSOULA – The government shutdown has continued to the point that student veterans attending the nation’s colleges may be affected. The University of Montana has taken several steps to do what it can for its 562 veterans and their designated dependents who may experience disruption of educational benefit payments.
“It’s unfortunate this impasse at the federal level may affect our veteran students, who served their country faithfully and well and now want to use their educational benefits,” UM President Royce Engstrom said. “We have taken several steps to lessen any impacts.”
The University will:
* Waive incurred interest and release holds associated with the shutdown during fall semester 2013 for those with delayed veteran benefits.
* Allow veterans and their dependents to register for classes without any restrictions.
* Dedicate three UM Business Services staff members to help students with veterans benefits finalize their spring registration, schedule bills or resolve any other issues. Call 406-243-2223 for more information.
* Give veterans and their dependents a letter from the University that asks landlords, childcare providers and other creditors to be understanding of late payments in this difficult time.
* Provide financial literacy counseling and assist with exploring additional funding sources through the Office for Student Success. Call 406-243-2835 for more information.
* Continue offering support and counseling from the Veterans Education and Transition Services (VETS) Office. Call 406-243-2744 for more information.
In addition, the Associated Students of UM Senate approved a short-term plan to offer student veterans and service members one-time $500 loans. The loans are for 60 days with no interest. All eligible UM veterans and their dependents may access the funds, including freshmen, ROTC and National Guard students. Call 406-243-2451 for more information.
“Our ultimate goal is to help veterans and their family members stay at the University so they can become successful in their studies,” Engstrom said.